A proposal by Hudson’s Bay Co. and its Streetworks Development arm includes 310,000 square feet of high-end office and 205 total residential units, which it would develop at the site of a vacant Lord & Taylor building in downtown Westfield and the surrounding blocks. — Rendering courtesy: HBC
By Joshua Burd
Local officials in Westfield have cleared the way for the Hudson’s Bay Co. to redevelop a vacant Lord & Taylor site and several adjacent blocks downtown, with plans calling for more than 300,000 square feet of office space and some 200 residential units.
HBC, through its Streetworks Development affiliate, said Wednesday that it was moving ahead after the town council voted unanimously to approve a redevelopment agreement for the project known as One Westfield Place. The pact, devised in accordance with the town’s master plan, authorizes the mixed-use redevelopment of several underused downtown sites for commercial and residential use, including the former department store properties and two municipally owned parcels, one to the north of the train station and one to the south.
The council on Tuesday also approved a series of financial and bond ordinances related to a payment in lieu of taxes program for the project, according to a news release. That vote closely followed the approval of the town’s broader redevelopment plan by both the council and the Westfield planning board.
“The adoption of the redevelopment plan and approval of the redevelopment agreement is a significant milestone for our vision to reimagine the former Lord & Taylor store and support downtown Westfield,” said Carolina Simon, vice president of development for HBC|Streetworks Development. “This agreement is a culmination of years of engagement and active listening that allowed us to work collaboratively with public officials, residents and community members to better understand the needs of the community. We look forward to the next steps in this approval process and want to thank Mayor Shelley Brindle and the town council for their continued support and collaboration to ensure a strong future for Westfield.”
Unveiled last fall, plans for One Westfield Place now include 310,000 square feet of high-end office space and 205 total residential units, 154 of which are age-restricted for seniors, along with two enhanced public spaces and 27,000 square feet of street-level retail. The project would also look to optimize parking in the downtown through two new commuter garages, while substantially improving streetscapes.
HBC|Streetworks Development expects construction to begin in 2024.
“This marks a significant and exciting milestone for Westfield as we build upon our longstanding reputation as a pre-eminent downtown community,” Brindle said. “One Westfield Place represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to partner with our largest downtown property owner to create a live/work/play ecosystem that can sustain our businesses for the long term and deliver a vibrant downtown to serve our community for future generations. We look forward to realizing our vision as a premier post-COVID Main Street community that serves its residents, businesses and visitors alike.”
HBC said the approval follows four years of community engagement in which it sought input from residents, local businesses, municipal leaders and community groups. That includes what it calculates to be more than 7,000 public interactions across a series of information sessions, virtual listening tours, visits to its preview center and community events.
Notably, more than 2,000 guests have visited the preview center at 76 Elm St. since it opened last October, the news release said. In January, HBC announced key changes such as modifications in housing type and a reduction of units, along with less office space, evolved parking optimization and traffic mitigations.
“We are extremely pleased to see our vision for One Westfield Place continue to move through the approvals process,” said Ken Narva, HBC|Streetworks Development chairman and chief development officer. “As the largest landowner in Westfield, we are committed to working with the town to ensure a sustainable, environmentally friendly, and economically viable future for Westfield.
“From the two mass timber office buildings we’re proposing on the south side of the train station, to the enhanced greenscapes, bike paths and the creation of a mobility hub to improve pedestrian’s overall experience, sustainability and the promotion of environmental health and economic prospectivity is at the heart of this proposal and all of our development practices.”